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Anyone know the details of possible regulations coming down the road for Canadian beekeepers to keep track of individual hives, and inputs into them, being required by the appropriate regulatory agency?
A beesource member brought this to my attention and pointed me to the documentation as linked. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals...-guide/eng/1378390483360/1378390541968?chap=1

It piqued my curiosity as to the thoughts of Canadian beekeepers to these guidelines/(possible) future regulations and how U.S beeks would react to similar "recommendations" .

We in the US are required to register our production facilities, and the packers take care to know what supplier sent which lots of honey for traceability back to the source in case of a bio-security event. But there is currently no requirement to track and keep detailed records on individual hives, bee yards or the entire operation, (other than for tax considerations). I am now curious if we have similar documents on recommended practices under our food security regulations and will be checking on that.

But for now, back to Canada. They seem to be recommending detailed record keeping on each hive? Starting with when and from whom it was acquired, if purchased or if self raised. What type of queen and when requeened and details on temperment. When treated for what/with what plus measurement to determine efficacy of treatment. Who visits your apiary and when and why. What inputs into your operation and the sources of same.
For accuracy would one have to keep records of movement between colonies of frames and queens, even of which supers are used where and when? I can't see how that would even be practicable in a commercial migratory outfit. Those beekeepers with smaller numbers of colonies might have a hope of living with this level of record keeping but it would seem fairly impossible for large commercial migratory beekeepers with so much switching around of hive components and the fluidity of bees and queens themselves between hives, planned and otherwise. And any end benefit of this collecting of minutia is debatable, other than to the extra employee one would need for the record collecting and reporting.

It seems at this point the program is voluntary and could be considered recommended micro-management practices for those so inclined. Many of the recommended practices are widely acknowledged as "best practices", but some were obviously written with no consideration of the realities of beekeeping. For example, bees should only be allowed access to "water which meets municipal regulations for drinking water". Somewhat problematic to enforce, I would think.

There is a big difference between recommending "best practices" and requiring implementation and documentation of tightly defined husbandry practices. Voluntary programs often serve as trial balloons for future regulations, is that where we're headed?

Sheri
 

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...... a solution in search of a problem.
 

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But for now, back to Canada. They seem to be recommending detailed record keeping on each hive?
Sheri, I have been through the bio security program, there is NO recommendation for detailed record keeping on individual hives. The requirements falls through CFIA to document treatments, which I usually do on a spread sheet on a per yard/operation basis, much as what you guys will be doing to satisfy your own facility registration. There is no mandatory government enforcement, everything to do with facility registration is voluntary but most all honey packers require a registration number. The government is working with producers to help bring honey houses up to a national standard. I imagine its the same in the US
 

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Its an industry driven, producer adopted, government regulated initiative. It is exactly how these things are to work. The industry demands honey house standards, the producer strives to meet those standards and the government develops a frame work to standardize.

Soon as Mandatory hits the picture the whole process falls apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
A forum member and Canadian brought this to my attention and I was curious as to people's thoughts. The ramification of additional regulations are a practical concern for those trying to make a living.
 

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I really do not see how something like that can be implemented. Canada is such a large country and very diverse. And has more remote areas than the Lower USA. How is someone to know if you have hives somewhere in the woods if a person does not divulge it? I think most Canadians are very independant minded in a wild land. I can see about registering cars, etc., that's different. But bees do not affect anyone especially in a negative way. And there might be less people with beehives if it becomes regulated.
 

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Hopefully that does not become regulation in Canada. However if it does, it's really a Canadian problem and hopefully our law makers realize what works for Canada does not also need to work for the US. Could you imagine if the US government set in regulations for controlling the honeybees source of water?

What would we do on the farm? Certainly once water hits a trough for horses or cows (galvenized water troughs) its no longer considered Potable water. I think if such regulations were imposed many or most commercial beekeepers would STOP producing honey and only focus on selling and pollination services more than we are seeing now.
 

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BMAC, you hope that's the truth if what?
Sheri spoke to a beekeeper who miss understood a framework and confused it with another.

I can talk all day about manditory regs imposed on our cattle industry , to satisfy a trade partners politics...

None of this exists in the beekeeping industry.
 

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Ian all Im saying is hopefully we are just overthinking this.

I know a guy in Ga concerned about local folks trying to dictate the water source for his bees. Maybe he is just talking to be heard talking, maybe not.
 

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Ian all Im saying is hopefully we are just overthinking this.

I know a guy in Ga concerned about local folks trying to dictate the water source for his bees. Maybe he is just talking to be heard talking, maybe not.
And you question whether his point is valid ? Again BMAC, your overthinking. And on a point that has no truth
 

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Here is the opening statement about the initiative. It says nothing about "mandatory", but it does mention "Voluntary" twice.

Why a National Standard?

The National Bee Farm-level Biosecurity Standard forms the basis of a comprehensive voluntary program designed to provide practical guidance for owners or managers involved in the three main Canadian bee sectors: honey bees, alfalfa leafcutting bees, and bumblebees. The Standard was developed in partnership with representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the Canadian Honey Council (CHC) – on behalf of provincial beekeeping and honey producer associations – provincial apiarists, and the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA).

The objective of a National Standard is to provide a consistent, country-wide approach to the implementation of biosecurity practices for both small- and large-scale operations. The development of farm-level biosecurity standards is a national initiative within and across agriculture industries, including both animals and plants. Beekeeping was identified as a priority sector for the development of a voluntary farm-level biosecurity Standard.
 

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Ian Fair enough. Unfortunately we do see real changes in regulations equally ridiculous as what the above hints towards. I guess that's why its concerning.
 

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Ian Fair enough. Unfortunately we do see real changes in regulations equally ridiculous as what the above hints towards. I guess that's why its concerning.
Does the US not have a state or national regulatory standard which they use to register US production facilities ? Are you also concerned about that?
If given a choice, would you buy your food from a processing facility that falls under all the national inspection criteria or would you buy from a processing facility unknown to you which doesn't ?
 

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It's voluntary, but I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing big packers demand it of their clients, or pay them less for their honey if they don't. While I don't expect the government to make it mandatory, I can certainly see big resellers doing so.

As for the water, I'm pretty sure all they want you to do is make fresh water available in every apiary. Sure, you can't control where the bees go to drink, but if you put a clean water source close to the hives, then you are doing pretty much all there is to do about it.

Keeping records on an apiary level is just good practices anyways. I also consider it a selling point: I can look at the batch number on my bottle of honey and tell the customer in what kind of environment that honey was made. Of course, I run a rather small operation, but I consider it such a great selling point that I intend to maintain it even as I grow. "This, my friend, is not just any kind of honey. It's not a clover honey, and it's not a summer honey. This, my friend, is the golden treasure of SAINTE-SCHOLASTIQUE (or whichever town the apiary is in)!" Maybe it's just an impression I give myself, but I think that my clients appreciate this more than "this is a honey made of, mostly, clover nectar and an undetermined number of other unknown plants". Next year the pollen content analysis will be made available as well. I'm gonna keep using clover as an example for the sake of simplicity, but this would also allow one to sell two jars of clover honey to the same person, perhaps even in a bundle with a premium. Why? Because honey with 60% clover honey and 30% mustard honey will not taste the same as honey with 60% clover honey and 30% buckwheat honey. I don't think that honey should be reduced to its main source. Mixtures are not the result of simply the most important ingredient, those other ingredients should not be viewed as merely "contaminants" lowering the "purity" of the monofloral honey.

I'm going a bit off-topic, but all this to say that maintaining records and batches distinct between one's apiaries allows for marketing possibilities that doing a single big blend does not, and that traceability is not just paperwork but also a selling point.
 

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>Does the US not have a state or national regulatory standard which they use to register US production facilities ? Are you also concerned about that?

Yes, I'm concerned.

>If given a choice, would you buy your food from a processing facility that falls under all the national inspection criteria or would you buy from a processing facility unknown to you which doesn't ?

One which does not. I have yet to hear of an small unknown processing plant having any kind of issues or recalls. I hear everyday or USDA inspected facilities recalling billions of pounds of hamburger or millions or jars of peanut butter...

The more we regulate the less small producers there are (because it becomes financially impossible) and the bigger the problems are when they occur. If we keep consolidating and merging food companies there will soon be a single point of failure.
 
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